Although Carayas is a native New Yorker, he has lived all over the United States. His passion for wine began while he was living in Santa Barbara in his early twenties, beginning to become immersed in the Californian wine culture. Soon Carayas caught the eye of a sommelier that mentored him and helped him to develop his skills. This mentorship served as a foundation for him, setting up Carayas for his career in the wine industry.
Paul Carayas has spent the last twenty six years in hospitality. While he has been involved in every aspect of the business, his passion for wine came to culminate in a professional life defined by it. Having more than fourteen years of experience in the wine industry, Carayas has been the guiding hand in many wine programs throughout the peninsula, as well as serving as Wine Educator and Judge for numerous industry awards ceremonies. In his current role as the Wine Director of Chez TJ, he has retained the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator since 2016. Paul’s penchant for Portuguese wines has driven him to become North America’s first Madeira Certified Wine Educator, as well as an Ambassador for Alentejo and a Sherry specialist.
When looking for different wines to incorporate into the Chez TJ wine program, Carayas tends to seek out a variety of wines from all over the globe. Although he does appreciate the larger, more traditional wine houses, he would rather discover the more obscure bottle produced by a charming, boutique winery. Carayas aims to showcase extraordinary wine producers that are typically difficult to find, ensuring that the guests of Chez TJ receive a unique wine experience.